Meet WMA's 2023 Luncheon Guest Speakers!


This year at the WMA 2023 Annual Meeting, October 5-8 in Pasadena, CA, attendees will have the unique opportunity to hear from and connect with professionals from across the Western museum field and beyond, including three inspiring luncheon guest speakers.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

On Saturday, October 7, at the WMA Community Lunch, attendees will celebrate the WMA Community with special guest speaker Regan Pro, the Deputy Director of Public Programs and Social Impact at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles, California. While enjoying a meal together, attendees will get a glimpse into the Lucas Museum’s approach to social impact.


WMA Lunch Speaker.jpgAs Deputy Director of Public Programs and Social Impact at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Regan Pro oversees strategy, partnerships and programming in areas including education, public programs and creative practice, interpretation, civic engagement, and social impact. She was formerly the Kayla Skinner Director of Education and Public Engagement at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) where she developed creative learning opportunities for all audiences focused on equity, relevancy, and curiosity. She joined the Education team at SAM in December 2009 as a Museum Educator and then Manager of School & Educator Programs, working to develop access programs for K-12 students, teachers, and families. While in Seattle, Regan also taught at the Graduate Museology Program at the University of Washington. She also held positions at several arts education organizations including the Frye Art Museum, Path with Art, Project Zero, Addison Gallery of American Art and the National Arts Learning Collaborative.


The WMA Community Lunch will be held Saturday, October 7, in the Hilton Pasadena Pacific Room, 12:30pm to 1:45pm. Tickets are $65 each, and requires pre-registration.


Sunday, October 8, 2023

The following afternoon, on Sunday, October 8, at the Indigenous Luncheon, attendees can enjoy a meal while meeting colleagues from tribal museums and supporters of Native American concerns. Attendees will welcome special guest speaker Cindi Alvitre (Tongva), M.A., Cultural Curator, Director & Co-Founder of Ti'at Society.


Cindy Indigenous Luncheon Speaker.jpgCindi Alvitre (Tongva) is a mother and grandmother and has been an educator and artist activist for over three decades. In 1985, she & Lorene Sisquoc co-founded Mother Earth Clan, a collective of Indian women who created a model for cultural and environmental education, with a particular focus on traditional art. In the late 1980s, she co-founded Tiat Society sharing in the renewal of their ancient maritime practices of the coastal/island Tongva. Cindi is currently NAGPRA Coordinator & Faculty at CSULB American Indian Studies Program. As a cultural curator, her work extends beyond the physical manifestation of museum exhibition and into ceremonial performitivity, a genre of expression that engages participants into native landscapes as a dimensional refocusing of our cultural lens”.


The Indigenous Luncheon will be held Sunday, October 8, in the Hilton San Diego Ballroom, 12:30pm to 1:45pm. Tickets are $65 each, and requires pre-registration.


Also on Sunday afternoon, all Directors, Deputy Directors, CEOs, CFOs, Leadership Team Members, and Trustees are invited to attend the Directors & Leadership Team Luncheon. This event will feature guest speaker Ben Garcia, the Executive Director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum in Manhattan, New York. Ben will share his experiences being the first Executive Director of a new museum.


Ben Garcia WMA Lunch Speaker 2023_0.jpegBen Garcia (he/him) has worked for 22 years to help museums become places of welcome and belonging for all people. He has presented and published regularly on creating structural equity in museums through transparency, accountability, fair labor practices, and by including missing voices and perspectives. Prior to joining the American LGBTQ+ Museum as Executive Director, Ben worked in various roles as an educator and administrator at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Skirball Cultural Center, and Hearst Museum of Anthropology. He then served as Deputy Director of the Museum of Us, and as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Learning Officer at the Ohio History Connection. He is versed in museum interpretation, operations, management, fundraising, and decolonizing practice. Ben led initiatives to return Indigenous ancestral human remains and belongings in San Diego and Ohio. He also serves as a board member at Equality Ohio, working to get the Ohio Fairness Act passed.


The Directors & Leadership Team Luncheon will be held Sunday, October 8, in the Hilton Santa Clara Ballroom, 12:30pm to 1:45pm. Tickets are $65 each, and requires pre-registration.


If you’re interested in attending any of these three lunchtime happenings, we invite you to add them to your existing registration (or register for WMA 2023) on the WMA 2023 Registration online portal.

There are also two additional luncheons available to sign up for including the Storytellers and Supporters Luncheon (during which the recipient of the Charles Redd Award for Exhibition Excellence will present on the winning exhibition), and the Registrar’s Committee Western Region Luncheon.

We look forward to seeing you there!